WASHINGTON: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir unleashed a charm offensive on the Pakistani diaspora, whom he met at a community dinner hosted by the Pakistan embassy last week.

Among the attendees were individuals of diverse influence: investors, physicians, IT professionals, engineers, university professors, financial experts, and economists. Despite their varied backgrounds, they shared a common claim: leadership within the Pakistani community in America. Some even came on their private planes from places as far afield as California and Texas.

On Monday, the army chief is expected to meet some US military leaders at the Centcom headquarters in Tampa, Florida. He may return to Washington if the embassy succeeds in arranging a meeting with US lawmakers and think-tank experts.

A Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Tanweer Ahmed, earned the chief’s praise for donating $9 million to the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Pakistan.

“I met the army chief along with dozens of other community members. More than 70 people were in attendance; we had an open and frank discussion with the army chief; he interacted with everyone and was very receptive,” he tweeted after the dinner.

Gen Munir set to meet US military leaders at Centcom HQ today; assures Pakistani-Americans of complete security of their investments through SIFC

“There was an overwhelming demand on the Pakistani diplomats for an invitation, and only a limited number could be accommodated,” he added.

In his address to this select gathering, Gen Munir urged Pakistani Americans to invest in their homeland through the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and assured them it “offers complete security”.

He said he believed in three Cs: Competence, Courage, and Character, and if he has to let go of two things, he would let competence and courage go but not character.

Gen Munir was quoted as saying that the Pakistani “diaspora around the world is held in high regard as they are ambassadors of Pakistan and contribute significantly to Pakistan in varying domains.”

“He spoke from the heart and seems very caring about Pakistan,” said a Pakistani physician who attended the dinner.

The president of the largest organisation of Pakistani physicians, Arshad Rehan of APPNA, joined others like Rao Kamran Ali, Attique Samdani, Mubasher Chaudhary, Asaf Qadeer, Tahir Bhatti, and Ali Rashid at the dinner.

“Almost everyone who was invited joined! If anyone claims otherwise, he is wrong,” said another physician after attending the event.

The participants also included some PTI activists who have campaigned for Mr Khan in the US Congress and at other places, he added.

Although it was an open-mic session, nobody asked questions about Mr Khan’s incarceration or alleged human rights violations in the country.

The local PTI leadership also stayed away from the protest, saying that they had instructions from Pakistan to “not participate in such activities during the chief’s visit”, as PTI Virginia official claimed.

The army chief has already met key government and military officials in Washington last week, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defence Lloyd J. Austin, Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...
IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...